Brown: We'll Protect Ryan Fraser

Fraser was subbed after a vicious challenge from Marc McAusland in Saturday’s 4-1 win at St Mirren, the latest in a line of assaults that have seen 19 yellow cards and one red dished out for tackles against him this season.

Aberdeen defender Mark Reynolds was the latest player to tell of his fear that Fraser is only one foul away from a potentially serious injury.

And Dons boss Brown says he will wrap the young winger in cotton wool to protect the player and to benefit the club.

Brown said: “He’s only 18 and has started every game bar one this season. You are always very mindful of burn-out but he is such a enthusiastic player he wants to play all the time.

“We will be careful with him. His ankle was a bit swollen but he is walking and should be OK.”

Ryan Fraser was set to be elevated from the Scotland Under-19s to the Under-21 squad for the trip to Portugal this week, but Brown requested that the 18-year-old sensation be overlooked on this occasion.

Craig Brown added: “We don’t want to deny the lad a chance to play international football but it was felt he would be better served sitting out this one because he has played a lot of football and take a few bumps and bruises.

“I’ve no doubt he will be involved with Scotland very soon and if he keeps progressing there’s no reason he can’t eventually go all the way to the senior side."